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Empowerment Across the Industry
Tahnee Malazdrewicz, Marketing & Events Coordinator, IBAO
David Mercier
Personal Lines Manager Youngs Insurance Brokers
Maria Felisa Isip
Insurance Broker Pirie & Burgess Insurance Brokers
Lindsay Trimble
Operations Manager McCaslin Horne Insurance Brokers
Going into 2020, you can’t help but wonder if the hard market that disrupted the industry last year will reverse course, and our theme this year, Empowered, couldn’t be more relevant.
How long have you been in the industry and how has it evolved over time?
I jumped into the insurance industry with both feet 12 years ago. The biggest change I’ve seen is individualized rating. I used to be able to ask questions and have a good idea of which market would want that client and offer the best premium. Rates were posted in manuals. Now there are so many factors to account for when quoting, it’s become almost impossible to quote without software.
I came into insurance as my second career. I’ve been in it about four years. But even in that time I’ve seen a tremendous shift incorporating technology into brokerages to streamline processes and communicate with customers in new ways.
I've been working in a brokerage over three years and every year, insurance companies get stricter with their underwriting rules. The role of a broker is to invest time to know their clients so they can represent them and find the best insurance products available.
Employees who are highly motivated and empowered have an excellent work outcome which in turn creates a positive work environment.
How does employee empowerment impact work culture?
It means you can trust your employees to make their own decisions. You’re giving them power and responsibility asking them to step up. It provides a sense of ownership, loyalty and a common goal to improve the entire workplace while increasing creativity, confidence and customer service.
I try to practice every day in my operations role—giving staff members the tools they need to do their job well leads to engaged employees who are free to perform at their full potential. Whether those tools are technology, education or streamlined processes, empowering your employees reduces stress and improves culture.
Employees who are highly motivated and empowered have an excellent work outcome which in turn creates a positive work environment. What’s helped you stay positive during the hard market?
What’s helped you stay positive during the hard market?
My clients calling me to vent their frustrations about rate increases. The fact they’re calling to discuss renewal means I’ve done my job as a broker. They rely on my knowledge to guide them through the process. If they still choose to work together after seeing a rate increase instead of shopping around, it’s a win. It’s easy for clients to call another brokerage—to me that’s a true sign of a solid working relationship.
Reading keeps me positive. I think it helps me keep things in perspective and look at the big picture. When you’re knee deep trying to re–market policies or dealing with upset customers, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have several insurance magazines and news sites bookmarked to keep up with current trends and always try to have at least one business related book on the go.
I have a strong desire to help the public understand how proper insurance coverage provides financial security. If you act in the best interest of a client and are well informed of the products you sell, challenging situations or risks are less stressful.
The fact they’re calling to discuss renewal means I’ve done my job as a broker.
How are brokers making a difference in the industry?
One of the best ways is to stay educated on industry changes and take part in webinars and conventions, and pass that knowledge onto clients and co–workers. Being available if a claim arises can solidify the relationship for life. Helping them through the process gives clients piece of mind and secures a quick and just settlement, which can make a positive difference in an insurer’s payout.
The Weekly
to see the ways brokers are advocating for their clients and trying to find solutions to industry–wide problems like auto insurance fraud and the use of consumer data. It’s inspiring to read the articles and attend events to hear about what brokers are doing to make our industry better.
Brokers are rising to the challenge of a competitive atmosphere. It's fast–paced and we're continuously learning, staying updated with the market and communicating to our clients.
What makes the broker channel unique? How do we protect that?
We find the right insurance product, with the best coverage and provide the best service at the best price. Personal service and building relationships are paramount. We need to advocate, advertise, join local Affiliates and spread the word to make sure everyone knows brokers are the best choice for insurance.
We need to demonstrate our value not only to customers but also to insurance companies and political leaders as playing a critical role in these discussions. In order to propel our profession forward, we really need to work on recruiting strategies and reshaping our image. I was happy to hear about the new initiatives IBAO is undertaking to recruit to our profession.
There will be times we'll feel less enthusiastic about how everything is working out, but we need to stick to the core of providing expert and unbiased advice.
Quote mark
Show people a positive path that enables them to make progress on their own terms. Give them options and alternatives that empower them.
—Mark Goulston
What are your goals this year?
I’d like to create a claims department so we can better monitor claims, mitigate losses and educate on claims prevention. This will help us in a hard market by retaining customers and keeping profitable with the markets.
My number one goal is to get my RIBO Level II License so I can take a more active role in our brokerage. I’m also looking at starting a CRM designation—I think it’ll be beneficial to our clients and our business.
Since I started this journey of becoming a licensed broker, I have nothing but the drive to learn more. This job has taught me that it can be challenging but also extremely rewarding.
Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario
1 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700
Toronto, ON M4P 3A1
416.488.7422 | 800.268.8845
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